Time to Set Your August Health Goals

It is time to set your August health goals.  It is the beginning of a new month and the end of summer is in sight. 😎

It is time to review and focus on your health goals. Think about the preventative care topics that you have been reviewing. What appointments need to be scheduled? Remember that Telehealth is the new norm. What habits did you begin last month that you want to continue to work on?  What do you want to begin focusing on this month?

Setting goals if important but writing them down and posting them where you can see them every day increases the chance that you will make it happen.

Here are some ideas from our members from last month and a few of mine:

  • eat less carbs
  • cut back on sugar
  • walk more
  • add a mile to your walking session
  • stick to your work’s wellness activity
  • schedule your next wellness check appointment
  • schedule your next dental cleaning appointment
  • schedule your mammogram
  • work on increasing your water intake until you are drinking half of your weight each day (in ounces)
  • begin a walking program and work your way up to 30 minutes a day
  • explore meditation
  • start reading nutrition labels
  • eliminate artificial sweeteners
  • eliminate soda or sugar drinks
  • eliminate meat from one meal a day
  • eliminate one ‘bad habit’
  • keep a food diary
  • drink less alcohol

As you can see, there are many ways to become healthier. The list is endless. You get to decide what is most important to you. Pick 5 things to focus on this month. Yes, 5! Whether it is improving on the ones you chose last month, a combo of old and new or 5 new ones, it doesn’t matter.  It is a series of baby steps as this is a lifelong journey.

So take your pen, pencil or computer out and start writing this down.  Research this.  What steps can YOU take to make a difference this month? Make the time to set your August health goals.

Just as the picture shows, your journey doesn’t have to be perfect. You just have to be making daily progress.  

Obesity Screening and Counseling: Part Two

Happy Meatless Monday!

I hope that you were able to find some time this past weekend to focus on yourself. Daily hugs are good for the soul so hug yourself and grab your favorite drink for this next part.

Obesity Screening and Counseling

Dieting…

A team member send me a DM and said this. “Enough! Just tell me what diet I need to go on.”

In the last 22 years, I have read about and tried many different diets. I have educated myself about healthy eating and nutrition. I have seen the scientific literature sway from one norm to another. Who do you believe?

In my opinion, the most successful weight reduction programs are those that combine cognitive behavioral therapy and eating foods that are as unprocessed as possible the majority of the time.

What the hell does that mean????

 

This means that you need to eat the healthiest foods possible to fuel your body. Food is fuel. Just like putting gas in your car. Eat because you are hungry; not because you lost your job, are bored, are happy, are in pain, are drinking your favorite drink, your partner cooked it for you, you drove by your favorite donut shop, you are worried about COVID, etc.

You need to prepare this fuel in the healthiest way possible. The more natural it is, the better. The less red meat, the better. A plant based diet is the current favorite but this only helps you if you minimally prepare it. Breaded, cheese covered, fried zucchini sticks are not the answer.

The cognitive behavioral therapy part is understanding your relationship with food. Emotional eating. Foods that are ‘comfort foods’ have that label for a reason. If you are using food as a substitute for other things or as your solution to a particular problem, you need to address the original problem to be successful in the long run. There are many good programs on this topic. This is what Noom is based on.  Wholist, a program that teaches “comprehensive nutrition and mindset coaching programs based on weight science and neuroplasticity, that accomplish amongst many things, conquering using food for emotional buffering.” 

Having said this, if I was going to pick one ‘diet’, it would be Weight Watchers. The most important part about this program is that it teaches you about portion control with the normal foods that you and your family normally eat every day. Programs like Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig are not the foods that are eaten in my home. They may be effective while I am eating their food, but it will not be sustainable when I go back to my normal Hispanic-Italian cuisine.

So I hope I have given you some food for thought. Let me know what questions you have as we wrap up our overview on this screening topic.

Leverage the science and psychology of healthy lifestyle change and lifestyle medicine for effective weight loss, better health, and fitness that lasts.

 

Obesity Screening and Counseling

Obesity Screening and Counseling–the majority rules!  The Facebook Group members voted on this for our next topic so here we go. I approach all topics by giving you the background for why the screening is recommended and how the screening is done.

Background

Obesity screening and counseling is recommended for  everyone from the age of 6 and older. This screening is done by your clinician to determine if there are treatment options and counseling that is needed.  

In order to standardize this topic and its metrics around the world, the Who Health Organization adopted the Body Mass Index (BMI) back in the early 1990s as the gold standard to use. This allows all countries to use the same data when comparing how one country does in comparison to others. This also allows a country to determine their own health metrics by region, state and/or county levels.

The BMI is not a perfect tool as it does not differentiate between body lean mass and body fat mass; that is, a person can have a high BMI but still have a very low fat mass and vice versa. For instance, think of your bodybuilder who is very buff and has minimal fat. They may have a BMI that labels them as ‘overweight’ but their physical exam negates that.

The BMI is used in conjunction with the rest of your health metrics to determine whether you are at risk for other disease processes. You and your clinician will need to review this information to determine what counseling or treatment plan is needed in your specific case.

There are many online calculators that you can use. As they are gender and age specific, use the one that is specific for you.  This value is going to be useful for the vast majority of us as we are not in top physical forms. This is your baseline as you proceed on your health journey.

 

So You Want To Have a Baby? Focus On Your Preconceptual Health Status.

 

preconceptual health information

We have a ‘Motherhood Monday’ request!  You all are getting very creative. One of our team members wants to get pregnant this year so she wanted a good website to get trusted preconceptual health information from. The March of Dimes has great information on how to prepare for this so be sure and visit our Resources Page for a link to this information.

Key things to remember:

    • The healthier you are before you conceive, the less risk factors you will have during your pregnancy..
    • Meet with your obstetrical clinician before you conceive so that you can review your and your partner’s personal and family history. There may be testing that needs to be done before you concieve or medication changes that need to be made.
    • Take a folic acid vitamin supplement of 400 micrograms each day to help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine in your baby. You can buy this vitamin over the counter.
    • Space your pregnancies out so that you have at least 18 months in between them.  This will allow your body to completely recover from the last pregnancy and then prepare for the next one.
    • Remember our discussion about BMI? You want to be as close to the normal weight range as possible before you get pregnant. This will help prevent many problems during your pregnancy such as diabetes and problems with your blood pressure.
    • Eat healthy foods and be active for 30 minutes every day.
    • Cut back or eliminate smoking, drinking or unprescribed drugs. If you have a substance use disorder, join a treatment program that is comfortable working with pregnant women so that your clinical team can work on a medication regimen that is safe to take while pregnant.

This is a good overall review for all of us as many of us are in positions where we have completed our families but we may be mentors to others who are just beginning their motherhood journey.  Things have changed over time so make sure your knowledge of the current preconceptual health recommendations are up to date!